May 2, 2020

Developing Relationship With Jesus (Easter 4)

(Homily will be on YouTube on Sunday May 3 with a home Holy Communion service

In John 10.1-10 Jesus challenges the Pharisees to give up their legalistic dependence on the Law of Moses and depend on Him as Messiah and Saviour.  Jesus is describing Himself as the new shepherd of Israel and the (not a) “gate” each person must pass through into eternal life in His Kingdom. The test is that they know His voice and He knows them personally. The big question is how do you have a relationship with someone who died over 2,000 years ago? The Good News of Easter is that we can have an intimate, personal relationship with the Risen Jesus. The other Readings (Acts 2.42-47 and 1 Peter 2.19-25) teach us how to do this:

·      Jesus left a community of Apostles and believers in a growing home church.
·      This is where we all are today.
·      Sharing a spiritual communion service and teaching how to develop a home relationship with Jesus through:
o   Reading and sharing the “Apostles teaching”
o   “Fellowship” or developing a caring community
o   Relevant “prayer” and worship that connects us
o   Outreach or sharing to serve the needs of others

1. Developing Relationship through “Apostolic teaching”

Daily Bible reading is the first step for many people in developing a relationship with Jesus. Reading the whole Bible yourself is critical because you cannot depend on the fallible humans who selected the portions of Scripture read in church and preached on:
·      I was angry when I realized what they had not told me
·       Text has also been manipulated by false teachers
·      Satan deceives and blinds people to the truth
·      Leaders often compromise what they teach to not offend

2. Developing Relationship through fellowship / community
Relationship is a basic human need – as we are discovering . Relationship is intuitive and experience based:
·      Bible reading > prayer > experience of Jesus / Holy Spirit
·      Spiritual relationship is emotional and intuitive
·      Sharing experiences of Jesus and Holy Spirit grows into spiritual relationship leads to personal experiences
·      My experience of falling in love & knowing intuitively in contrast with previous decision to marry based on reason

3. Developing relationship through prayer and worship
Jesus invites us into a spiritual kingdom that exists mostly invisibly in our physical world. We communicate with this kingdom intuitively through experiences of prayer and worship:
·      Personal prayer makes the kingdom relevant to our lives
·      Prayer and worship lead to experiences of Jesus – i.e. forgiveness and the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace etc.
·      Holy Spirit can live in our spirit if we remove the garbage
·      Holy Spirit gives us gifts – comfort, healing, wisdom, words of knowledge and guides us away from evil

4. We develop relationship through sacrificial service
Peter teaches us to endure suffering for others and model the suffering servant model of Jesus. Christian “agape” self-sacrificial love was the sign of the early Christians. It was astonishing because it was the opposite of the normal get “justice” or pay back response to injustice:
·      Christians shared what they had with those in need
·      Giving away freed them from the trap of materialism
·      Service to others gives our lives meaning, purpose and joy
·      Example of 3 neighbours offering to help us

It is no wonder many people wanted to join these home churches as “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

May the Lord Jesus bless you today in your home church!!

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